On Saturday night I journeyed to Neverland with Peter Pan. That’s right, it was the opening weekend of panto season for Jamie Marcus Productions at the Lincoln Drill Hall and what a fabulous show it was! With a pinch of fairy dust, the audience transformed into the Lost Boys who never grew up. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
In true JMP style, the diversity of their audience was catered for. The traditional and much loved ‘he’s behind you’ humour was transported into 2018 with modern touches that left anyone over a certain age scratching their heads. And for the adults, Nursey Night-Night provided enough innuendoes to keep them chuckling into 2019. What everyone had in common though, was that they were made to feel part of the show with much more than birthdays and shout-outs. Smee told the kids about his progression in the game, Fortnite, and Nursey persistently teased a lad called Jack with the prospect of sitting on his knee whilst being dressed as ABBA’s Agnetha. We all knew where that was heading. Poor Jack.
The audience wouldn’t have been as engaged if it wasn’t for the amazing cast. Everyone from the Lost Boys, to the dancers, to Michael and John Darling, injected the stage with energy and enthusiasm throughout. Luke Haywood as Peter Pan was everything you would want in your favourite childhood protagonist. Ellie Pickering offered a twenty-first-century twist to the damsel in distress, Wendy Darling, by giving her a sassy feminist edge. The nightmare-inducing Captain Hook has turned into a lovable rogue thanks to Stephen John Davis. Adam Fox was divinely hilarious within his interpretation of puny Pirate Smee. And as for James Campbell, Nursey’s rendition of Baby Shark is something that will forever be etched in my memory – simply genius! They individually and collectively embodied JMP’s dedication to showcasing creativity.
As I mentioned in my previous panto blog, JMP is paving the way for theatre companies across Lincolnshire and further afield with their seamless integration of Tinkerbell, played by deaf actress, Phillipa Russell. I know they were hoping to quietly change perspectives of disability without a fuss but raising awareness about such things is what I do, so I won’t be quiet about it. JMP’s willingness to step outside of what is considered the norm combined with their incorporation of British Sign Language illustrated that it’s okay to be different in an inspiring and educational way. Phillipa uncovered an enlightening and enchanting truth about Tinks that had not been seen before; in doing so, she showed that the projection of talent is always unique.
The flights to Neverland will continue until 5th January 2019, so be sure to get your tickets booked. You can do this either through the Jamie Marcus Productions website or that of Lincoln Drill Hall where prices are available. Alternatively, call Lincoln Drill Hall on 01522 873894 or pop into the box office for more information and details of specialist showings, including those which are signed or relaxed.
Some pantos are more than just a panto. It was a magical night.
Image credit: Jamie Marcus Productions Ltd.